Just after one-o-clock, I glanced up from my notebook and saw the rhythmic taillights of a small USPS Jeep outside my studio window. Its red lamps brightened and dimmed rhythmically through a misting rain and a spring fog which the afternoon could not shake off. The mail carrier stopped at each mailbox, and the lights pulsed, all the way down the long hill of my cul-de-sac.
I typed but a few more words before I remembered — Sawyer’s line should arrive today!
Moments later I jogged down the hill of my driveway with untied boot laces. I pulled up the hood of my sweatshirt just before exiting the carport and aimed for the mailbox with the excitement of a kid at Christmas.
And there it was. Mixed in with a few articles of junk mail and a bank statement, I found a small standard-white envelope which Sawyer had addressed as such: Domenick Swentosky, Esquire (a long-running inside joke that the mailman unlikely found amusing). On the way up the driveway I fingered the circular wraps of monofilament underneath stiff envelope paper.
Slamming the door behind me, I kicked off my untied boots in the sunroom and tore open the damp envelope on my way to the kitchen. After so much anticipation, there it was. Suffix Siege 20lb in Tangerine.
I spent the next ten minutes stretching, handling and tying knots with the new mono. I walked to the window to see how daylight changed the color. I noted its translucency vs opacity. And I thought long thoughts about whether clear-water, summer trout would spook from this material if I used it in thinner diameters as a sighter.
Later, I would call Sawyer and talk for hours about the properties of the orange(ish) monofilament in comparison to all the other lines. And oh my, there were a lots of other lines. We traded lengths of colored monofilament the way some guys trade flies, with the observational fascination and the collector’s bond of middle-school boys.
When Sawyer and I first started experimenting with long leader tactics, the mad-scientist ethos was sure to take over. This is the guy who logs his rods, reels and lines into a spreadsheet, who selects his daily fishing combo from a host of high-end options, with each pairing specifically designed for a certain job. And while I never fell to Sawyer’s addiction for purchasing and storing high-end gear, I happily joined his search for the perfect Mono Rig materials.
“It has a little more flex than Chameleon,” I told him after a few weeks of fishing the tangerine line. “But only in warmer weather — feels like it softens up in the sun. Doesn’t collapse though, and even in thinner diameters I think it will turn over Dorseys and dry-dropper rigs well if they aren’t too bushy. You know what I mean?”
Sawyer did know. In him I’d found a friend who shared my obsession for the little things. Because to us, such variances were not small. Because effortless line turnover is a beautiful thing. Because we believed in searching for the right tools until they were found. Because fishing and fishermen change as often as the river. And because perfecting imperfect things and chasing moving targets was fun. It still is.
Fish hard, friends.
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Enjoy the day.
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